Yesterday, in York


By A S Haley

Although General Synod still has many more proposed changes to consider, the divisions over the Archbishops’ measure contain all that is necessary to divide the Church of England even further than it has been divided to date. The irony of the vote yesterday is that, while a majority in the Church of England are committed to the ordination of women to the episcopate, a majority were also in favor of the compromise proposed by the Archbishops, which was designed to keep the Church from tearing itself apart. Nevertheless, the Archbishops’ measure failed to pass all three orders in General Synod. In the House of Bishops, it passed handily, by a vote of 25-15. In the vote by the laity, it also succeeded by a vote of 106 to 86, with 4 abstentions. But in the vote by the clergy order, the measure garnered 85 votes in the affirmative, to 90 in the negative, with 5 abstentions. Thus the anomalous result: taken overall, there were 216 members of Synod who favored the measure, while only 191 opposed. Nevertheless, because each order did not vote in favor, the measure on the whole failed to pass Synod, and so the change to the legislation which it proposed was rejected.

[…..] In short, the women priests in Synod combined with a sufficient number of male priests to ensure, by a bare minimum, that the wisdom of the other orders in the Church of England would not be put into practice. And in that description of the result is all the data that anyone needs to conclude that the admission of women to the priesthood in the Church of England was just the first step in a widening gyre. There will be no turning back: after the approval of the ordination of women to the episcopate, the numbers will so change in the Church of England’s House of Bishops, and in the lay delegates as well, as to make inevitable the ordination of LGBT’s to the episcopate. And at that point, the Church of England — in whatever form it then remains — will be indistinguishable from ECUSA.

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